The Dot on the I is a Smiley: On Turning 44

I’m not a smiley dotter of the letter “i.” I’m not a smiley dotter of anything, really. Partly, only out-dotted by the word Beijing, my first name has plenty of dots, thank you. They don’t need embellishment.

Reflecting on my current state of bliss, I was reconsidering some ideas in this vein. An acquaintance whom I hadn’t seen in quite some time said, “I am so sorry to hear of your divorce.” I waved my hand about like I was shooing a persistent fly and said, “I’m great! Not to worry!”

The “i” in divorce deserves a smiley.

Louis C.K. said it best: “No good marriage has ever ended in divorce.”

I’m turning 44 and I’m happy. Happier, in fact than I’ve otherwise been in my adult life. It’s a revelation.

On my birthday three years ago I was standing, as I do, in the beauty products aisle of the grocery store pondering my annual investment in anti-wrinkle creams. My interest in this sort of thing fades by Christmas, but around and on my birthday, I have a marked upswing in calling back faded youth. My phone rang and along with birthday wishes, my son announced his minutes-old engagement.

Now he’s divorced. He’s divorced, I’m divorced; everybody gets divorced!

That’s not true, of course.

But for each of us, me, for the past two years, he, for the last several months, we’ve been working through our fresh starts. I’ve learned so much!

And somewhere in there, I fell in love. Here I am at forty-four, in love and probably, inevitably, shopping for beauty products designed to turn back the clock. But this year, I don’t care as much. I’m happy and I feel like I’m in my twenties, but with much less stress than I had in my actual twenties.

Sometimes, a smiley is the right choice, when dotting an i.

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